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Camshaft Seal Replacement Cost

Know what price you should pay to get your vehicle fixed.

The average cost for a Camshaft Seal Replacement is between $162 and $596. Labor costs are estimated between $149 and $555 while parts are priced between $13 and $41. Estimate does not include taxes and fees.
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What is a Camshaft Seal?

Engines use camshafts to operate the cylinder head valves, allowing fuel to enter the combustion chamber and exhaust to exit. Since camshafts are gear driven, they must protrude from the front of the engine to engage the crankshaft via the timing chain or timing belt. Since they protrude, the oil that prevents damage to the camshaft must be contained by a camshaft seal. This is a rubberized circular seal that prevents dust and oil from passing where the camshaft exits the cylinder head.

How do Camshaft Seals work?

The seal works on the premise that a finely machined surface in perfect mesh with a rubberized seal held in place by a light spring will form a tight seal, impervious to oil, pressure, and dust. This often works for quite some time, but wear will eventually take hold and leaks will occur. The seals last quite long because the rubber is not flat, in fact it has lips that point towards the oil where the rubberized seal meets the camshaft. This allows the oil that reaches the seal to be spun up the seal, away from the camshaft, as this is the path of least resistance for the oil. Any oil at the seal is stopped by a secondary barrier, and acts to lubricate the seal to prevent premature degradation.

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What are the symptoms of a bad Camshaft Seal?

Seals only have one job, so failure always looks the same. Oil leaks from the camshaft seal indicate failure, and these leaks can become quite large over time. If the camshaft seal leak is large enough, a pool of oil may be found under the vehicle after idling in place for more than a few minutes. This leak would be from the bottom of the timing cover, and only on vehicles with timing belts, as engines with timing chains have an oil seal around the front cover of the engine so they tend not to have camshaft seals.

Can I drive with a bad Camshaft Seal?

A leaking camshaft seal should be addressed before it becomes large enough to make a puddle on the ground. Oil loss is the real risk here, as the camshaft seal can leak without damaging anything around it. If the leak is large enough that the engine is losing a considerable amount of oil, the driver is not likely to notice the size of the leak as the majority of leakage will be sprayed to all areas underneath the timing belt cover, and leak onto the roadway while driving. The amount of leakage while the vehicle is parked will be minimal. This can trick a vehicle's owner into thinking the leak is minimal until there is an oil pressure issue due to lack of oil in the crankcase.

How often do Camshaft Seals need replacement?

Camshaft seals are replaced on a regular basis for vehicles with timing belts, about every 60,000-105.000. This is because the interval for the timing belt for most manufacturers lands between these milestones, and the camshaft seals are very often recommended to be changed when the timing belt service is performed to avoid future failure of this inexpensive part.

How are Camshaft Seal issues diagnosed?

Diagnosing the camshaft seal is generally not necessary, and would only include removing the timing belt cover, cleaning, and inspecting for leaks after running the engine for a moment. In most other situations, the camshaft seals may be serviceable when replaced, but due to the highly economical cost to change these seals while doing a timing belt service, they will be changed regardless of condition.

How are Camshaft Seals replaced?

Removal of the timing belt cover, and any accessories that obstruct its removal is necessary to service the camshaft seals. Once the timing cover is removed, the engine will be placed at top dead center, or another mark as indicated by the manufacturer, and the timing belt will be released and removed, perhaps after locking the camshafts. At that time the camshaft sprockets are removed, and the camshaft seals are pulled from the cylinder head, and new seals are lubricated and pressed in evenly. Once complete, the timing belt, sprockets, and pulleys will be replaced, and the timing verified before reassembling the front cover and all removed obstruction components.

RepairPal Recommendations for Camshaft Seal issues

It is recommended to replace the seals for the camshaft and crankshaft at every timing belt service. The cost is low, but considering the replacement procedure above, this would not be an economical procedure to repeat to save minimal costs.

What to look out for when dealing with Camshaft Seal issues

All seals are not created equally, and when choosing a brand for the seal the original equipment manufacturer is likely the best option. This will ensure that the part purchased is up to standard with the latest OEM updates, improvements, or revisions.

Can I replace the Camshaft Seal myself?

Since camshaft and crankshaft seal replacement necessitates the removal of timing components, it is not recommended for the DIYer to attempt this task. A thorough knowledge of internal engine components, engine timing, additional systems, and several specialty tools are required to properly perform this repair.

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